Student receives invitation to the White House

Rachel Ayres | Staff Writer

One Whitworth student’s spring break plans have taken a dramatic turn, as Junior Lauren Sagvold has been invited to the White House.

On Monday, March 18, Sagvold received an email for the White House, which stated:

“The President requests the pleasure of your company for Remarks on Higher Education to be held at The White House on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at three o’clock.”

Sagvold is the chair of Whitworth’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter. This invitation comes in the wake of ASWU’s vote last Wednesday to refrain from inviting conservative speaker Ben Shapiro to campus, as well as the ongoing debate over free speech.

“I got the email and was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Savgold said. “I was very excited...I called my mom.”

Recently, Sagvold has been closely working with the national YAF Foundation regarding the topic of brining Shapiro to campus.

“[YAF] thinks that we are doing a good job advocating conservative values on campus,” she said.

Prior to receiving an email from the White House, Savgold had heard about the opportunity from the YAF Foundation.

“I did get an email from the YAF Foundation saying that the White House had reached out to them to see if they had any recommendations on who they wanted to send, but it was not like guaranteed or anything,” Sagvold said. “They did say that they recommended me, but I was like,

‘I am sure they recommended tons of people.’”

Sagvold, along with students from other YAF chapters , will be among those present at the White House to witness President Trump sign an executive order that would promote free-speech on college campuses.

The executive order, as reported by The New York Times, “would help guarantee free speech at colleges and universities by putting their federal aid at risk if they do not protect the viewpoints of students of all political stripes.” Trump was quoted stating that this order would, “require colleges to support free speech if they want federal research [funding].”

This executive order was announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

In the same New York Times article,  it was stated that Trump “pledged to hold school administrators accountable for ensuring that conservatives were permitted to express their views on campuses, often places where liberals outnumber them.”

With this once in a lifetime opportunity, Sagvold will be representing Whitworth’s YAF chapter as well as the campus itself with her presence in D.C.

“I just think that a lot of [conservatives] on campus are not feeling very hopeful about being represented and I just want to let them know that they are not being overlooked,” Sagvold said. “I feel very strongly about having equal representation.”

According to Sagvold, Whitworth’s chapter of YAF has about 200 people on their email list, with about 12-15 students in attendance at their weekly meetings.

“[YAF’s] mission as a foundation is to promote conservative ideas for young people, high schoolers, college students, and I really value that and I would hope to represent them well,” Sagvold said.

To learn more about Whitworth's chapter of YAF, follow along on Facebook at Whitworth Young Americans for Freedom and on Instagram at Whitworth University YAF.